Melissa Schoenherr - 2002 Catalog Hall of Fame Inductee
At some point in our lives, we've all pursued a career, relationship or activity only to find out that it wasn't for us. For Melissa Schoenherr, her experience began when she graduated with an associate's arts degree in accounting.
Shortly after beginning her first job with an accounting firm, she left the numbers game and switched her pursuits to the advertising world. After spending several years with small agencies in production coordination, she hit the bull's eye with Target Corporation, where she has been for 13 years and is now director of promotion production.
"I was hired to set up a project management department," she recalls, "and when I started [Target] had limited media programs and my job was to execute new media advertising."
Now, one of the fastest growing retail chains in the country, the Minneapolis-based company started humbly. In the late 1980s, its advertising
consisted of one weekend circular and one weekly advertisement in a daily newspaper. It was Schoenherr's job to support the national branding campaigns that would expand the store's visibility through advertising in magazines, producing catalogs and creating outdoor displays.
She firmly believes that hiring a good team begins with seeking individuals who have "a spark" and the drive to succeed, and she attributes her success to the staff she has worked with over the years.
"There is a key group of people that have been together for a long time," she says. "I've been with key creative directors and we've kind of grown together. They've led the brand from a creative standpoint and I helped guide the production Brand Standards for the national brand print advertising."
Witnessing Target become a recognized brand nationally has been a great source of pride for Schoenherr and a professional highlight. Other satisfying aspects of her career include building a cohesive production team and developing consistent brand characteristics in which quality print production plays a role.
Among her most recent accomplishments, Schoenherr likes to point to the construction of the 42nd Street billboard, a 5,200-square-foot display in Manhattan, which she took from design to completion. What she finds challenging about her position is that even though the store celebrates the same selling season every year, Schoenherr must plan for it differently. To that end, she always looks forward to creating new promotion vehicles.
A believer in self-improvement
Seeking to improve professionally, Schoenherr returned to school for a bachelor of arts degree in marketing from Metropolitan State University in St. Paul in 1993. She also gains a great deal of satisfaction from her ability to train herself on the use new media and technology that now inhabit the workplace.
When she is not working on the next ad campaign for the upcoming season, Schoenherr can be found on her 17-acre hobby farm, with her husband and two school-aged children, where she'd much rather grow beans than count them.
"One year we'll grow corn and one year it might be pumpkins. This year it's beans," she says. "I try to do more creative things when I'm at home. I like cooking, crafts and gardening. I stay home quite a bit."